Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Boulder Farmers' Market This Afternoon

Today's heat shouldn't discourage you from taking advantage of today's midweek Boulder Farmers' Market, starting at 4, when you think of all those fresh summer veggies just waiting for your shopping bag. From this week's Market newsletter, here's the extensive list of produce you can expect to see:

Arugula, Braising Mix, Chard, Collards, Kale, Lettuce Mix, Mixed Greens, Mizuna, Romaine, Salad Mix, Spicy Greens, Spinach, Tatsoi

Apple Mint, Basil (Cinnamon, Holy Basil, Lemon, Purple, Siam Queen, Spicy Greek, Thai), Borage, Calendula, Catnip, Chervil, Chives, Chocolate Mint, Cilantro, Dill, Garlic Chives, Parsley (Curly, Italian), Lemon Balm, Marjoram, Mint, Nasturtium, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Savory, Shiso, Tarragon, Thyme, Violas

Beets, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, Corn, Cucumbers, Edamame, Eggplant, Fennel, Fingerling Potatoes, Garlic, Leeks, Mini English Cukes, Mushrooms, Pepper (Anaheim, Banana, Cubanelle, Green, Hungarian Wax, Jalapeno, Jimmy Nardellos, Pepperoncini, Poblano, New Mexico Improved Hot), Potatoes, Okra, Onions, Radish, Radicchio, Scallions, Shallots, Summer Squash & Blossoms, Tomatillos, Wax Beans (Dragon, Green, Purple, Yellow)

Cherry, Heirloom, Slicing

Melon (Cantelope, French, Honeydew, Japanese Pear, Musk, Tropical), Peaches (Red Haven, Rising Star), Plums (Santa Rosa, Shiro Yellow), Pristine Apples, Watermelon

This Week's Hot New Deals (IMHO)

Lots of sales to cover this week, with new sales starting today at Sprouts, Sunflower, and Whole Foods. Alfalfa's probably has a new one too, but their Facebook page still has the one that ended yesterday, so I'll cover them when I get my hands on that info. Meanwhile, Vitamin Cottage's sale continues well through September (click that link for my prior report). There are also a bunch of price wars to compare, so here goes.

Lobster tail wars: $5.99 each at Sprouts (5 ounce) and Sunflower (3.5-4 ounce) through September 7th.

Chicken sausage wars: $2.99 a pound at Sprouts (pork also included, links or bulk) and Sunflower through September 7th.

Whole chicken wars: $1.49 a pound at Sprouts (also cut up) through September 7th, air-chilled $1.49 a pound at Whole Foods through September 13th.

Boneless skinless chicken breast wars: $1.77 a pound (value pack) at Sprouts, $1.99 a pound (family pack) at Sunflower through September 7th. (Also Rosie organic ones for $6.99 a pound at Sunflower.)

Organic cherry/grape tomato wars: $1.50 for a dry pint of grape toms at Sprouts, $2.50 for 10 ounces of grape or cherry toms at Sunflower, both through September 7th, mixed medley cherry tomatoes $3.99 a pound at Whole Foods through September 13th.

Organic broccoli wars: $1.49 a pound at Sprouts, Sunflower wins with 99 cents a pound, both through September 7th.

At Sprouts through September 7th, their boneless New York steak looks like a good deal for the grill at $5.99 a pound, and Sprouts beats Sunflower with boneless skinless chicken breasts (value pack) at $1.77 a pound. Whole or cut up chickens are $1.49 a pound, but note that Whole Foods has their air-chilled ones for the same price right now. I like Sprouts' chicken sausage, and all varieties (pork, too) are $2.99 a pound. Previously frozen wild caught haddock is good at $5.99 a pound, and fresh coho salmon is $8.99 a pound. In organic produce, broccoli is good at $1.49 a pound, but Sunflower is better at 99 cents a pound. Sprouts also has organic white nectarines for $1.49 a pound, cantaloupe 69 cents a pound, pluots 99 cents a pound, grape tomatoes excellent at $1.50 a dry pint, and green grapes just $1.49 a pound, stunning for organic grapes (wonder if they're seedless). For your grilling pleasure, my favorite Nature's Grilling natural mesquite charcoal is $3.99 a bag, a stock up price to get you though grilling all fall.

At Sunflower through September 7th, boneless skinless chicken breasts (family pack) are good at $1.99 a pound, but Sprouts beats that by 22 cents. I'd consider bone-in ribeyes for the grill at $7.99 a pound, and their chicken sausage is $2.99 a pound, matching Sprouts. Sunflower has wild caught sockeye salmon for $8.99 a pound, but the ad doesn't specify fresh/frozen. In organic produce, both broccoli and cauliflower look great a 99 cents a pound, red or yellow onions are also 99 cents a pound, black plums are $1.50 a pound, and grape or cherry tomatoes are $2.50 for 10 ounces. (How does 10 ounces compare to Sprouts' dry pint above?) For conventional corn, they have Colorado-grown at 5 for $1 (better than the 3 for $1 at Sprouts). In yogurts, Voskos Greek at $1 each and Cascade Fresh at 59 cents both look good.

At Whole Foods through September 13th, organic produce is looking good, with zucchini and yellow squash both $1.49 a pound, yellow nectarines, gala apples, or exotic-sounding black seedless grapes both $1.99 a pound, and a mixed medley of cherry tomatoes for $3.99 a pound. I love their Maryland style blue crab cakes, well worth $10.99 a pound, but I doubt they'd fare well on a grill. Their fine, air-chilled whole chickens look good at $1.49 a pound, and I'm tempted towards beef with their chipotle cheddar burgers at $3.99 a pound. Also, Laughing Cow babybels look very good, half off at $2.50 a bag, and I might fall for the WFM two-bite chocolate chip cookies, nearly $2 off at $3 a container.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Labor Day Grilling Coming Up

(I should probably write this as a postscript instead of putting it up top, but holy mackerel, this is my 1000th post. I've gotta get a life.)

So anyway, it's time to start the wheels turning about what to do for this upcoming Labor Day weekend. Grilling is of course a big favorite, and there are several excellent online guides to help you out. Check out Epicurious' Ultimate Grilling and Barbecue Guide, Bon Appetit's Labor Day Grilling, and Whole Foods' Guide to Grilling to get some ideas going. Then tomorrow, we'll have a slew of new sales starting at our Boulder natural grocery stores, with new ones expected at Alfalfa's, Sprouts, Sunflower, and Whole Foods, with only Vitamin Cottage continuing on with their current one. Stay tuned!

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

For tomorrow only, the 31st, our local Whole Foods stores will offer us a duo of special sales. Rocky Ford watermelons will be better than half off at $2.50 each, and Applegate wheat-free corn dogs will be $3.99, $3 off their usual price. Sounds like the start of a kid-friendly, gluten-free Labor Day celebration.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Doing The Chile/Chili Spelling Dance

As we move into the height of chile roasting and chili-making season, the various spellings of chili and chile can drive a body nuts. This New York Times article from a few months ago sheds some light on the issue. It looks like the pepper itself is a chile and the soup is usually chili, except when the soup is made from genuine New Mexico chiles, when at least in New Mexico, the soup is also called chile. Got that?

How's Your Eat Local Week Going?

So how are you doing as we progress through Eat Local Week, emphasizing foods that have been produced locally? As far as the produce goes, I'm finding it pretty easy. I stocked up at Saturday's Boulder Farmers' Market, supplemented by veggies from Alfalfa's and Whole Foods with "local" signage, and so far I think the most travelled veggie I've eaten since Saturday has been an organic tomato from nearby Firestone. Using seasonal menus that emphasize produce helps, too, without my having even planned it that way. Today's calabacitas, with squash, corn, and maybe some tomatoes is a natural for buying locally right now, as is Thursday's veggie-laden pasta dish. The proteins have been my weak point with this project, as we eat a lot of fish, which is a pretty tough call to eat locally in Colorado, unless you're really into trout.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Chez Panisse

A very happy 40th anniversary today to Chez Panisse, Alice Waters' iconic Berkeley restaurant from which one might say the local and organic food revolution was launched. I've been lucky enough to have eaten in both the restaurant proper and also in the cafe upstairs, and both were astonishingly good. So what's the connection to our cooking in Boulder? Well, first there's the emphasis on fresh and local ingredients, simply prepared to let them shine. Also, there's a guy named Fritz associated with the restaurant who lived in Boulder in the 70s, working at John's restaurant here. On our most recent visit to Chez Panisse, our waiter told us Fritz collaborates on the Chez Panisse cookbooks, something I just confirmed via a quick visit to A bit of a stretch, but one could call it a Boulder connection to Berkeley.

Weekday Dinner Ideas

Following our chowing down on steaks tonight, we'll definitely be ready for something vegetarian by tomorrow. With the abundance of corn and zucchini at this time of year, a favorite of mine is calabacitas, sometimes going by the name Mexican succotash. There are a zillion ways to do it, but it basically involves zucchini and corn, preferably with some roasted green chiles mixed in, and possibly some tomatoes, too (cherry tomatoes are good, and Sunflower has an excellent price on organics this week, $2.50 for 10 ounces). I like it served over brown rice, with a grating of sharp cheddar on top. I do a spin on a recipe from my beloved old Jane Brody's Good Food Book, but in surfing the web, I find a fellow blogger has posted what looks to me to be a great online option here.

For Tuesday, of course we have an easy reheat of something big made over the weekend, which this week is the corn and cod chowder from Food and Wine magazine. A salad, some bread, and that's dinner.

Tuesday will also mark the end of the current Whole Foods sale, which contains several tempting Hatch chile prepared items that make midweek cooking so easy. I'm thinking I'll grab the green chile salmon burgers by then (or maybe the green chile turkey burgers), in order to do a simple Wednesday dinner. I'll just add some mashed potatoes (or maybe get really decadent and get the green chile mac & cheese at Whole Foods, too) and a platter of lettuce, tomato, and avocado topped with a bit of salsa, and we're done.

We'll need a pasta dish by Thursday, and with our abundance of summer veggies, I'm thinking it will be Mark Bittman's pasta with corn, zucchini and tomatoes from the New York Times. When he originally published this, Bittman noted that you can do all kinds of spins on this, adding different veggies and substituting a variety of flavorings for the tarragon. One I particularly like is to take it to the southwest, using cilantro and a bit of chile powder instead of the tarragon, and maybe tossing some diced roasted green chiles, too.

And that will get us all the way to, good heavens, Labor Day weekend.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Series Of Farm Dinners Coming Up

The Pearl Street Whole Foods is planning quite an elegant series of farm-to-table dinners, with local ingredients and our famous local chefs, all to benefit the School Food Project. I'd get my reservation in early, as I bet these will sell out. Here's what they say:

Thursday, September 1st

Celebrating the Bounty Of Colorado with Guest Chef Hosea Rosenberg
6:00-8:30pm $75 donation benefitting the School Food Project limited to 30 participant

Join us for an intimate Farm Dinner evening benefitting the School Food Project. Tonight's menu includes:

- High Country Peach Salad with Arugula and Pancetta

-Sundried Tomato and Garlic Crusted High Country Lamb

-Creamy Polenta with Hazel Dell Mushrooms and Mascarpone

-Sautéed Zucchini from Full Circle Farms

-Toffee-Pecan High Country Peach Crisp with Sweet Cream Boulder Ice Cream

Thursday, September 8th

Locally Inspired Latin with Bradford Heap
6:00-8:30 $75 Donation benefitting the School Food Project limited to 30 guests

Join us for an intimate Farm Dinner evening benefitting the School Food Project. Tonight's menu includes:

-Zesty Dooley Farm Gazpacho

-Roasted Munson Farm Corn with Manchego and Lime

-Panorama Organic Grilled Flank Steak Tacos

-Haystack Mountain Goat Cheese Stuffed Hatch Green Chiles

-Dulce de Leche and Chocolate Chunk Studded Bread Pudding with Sweet Cream Boulder Ice Cream

-Courses will be paired with Local Wine and Beer!

Thursday, September 15th

A Local Autumn Dinner with BVSD Chefs Ann Cooper and Brandy Dreibelbis with Pearl Street Executive Chef Brad Defurio
6:00-8:30 pm on West patio $75 donation to The School Food Project limited to 30 guests

Join us for an intimate Farm Dinner evening benefitting the School Food Project. Tonight's menu includes:

-Grilled Flatbread with Avalanche Cheese Company Midnight Blue, Ela Farm Pears and Arugula

-Diamond Livestock Pork Tenderloin with Boulder County Honey Crisps and Fennel

-Grant Family Farm Kale and Winter Squash with White Bean Sauce

-Pecan Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

-Courses will be paired with Local Wine and Beer

Boulder Farmers' Market Today

A reminder that not only do we have the Boulder Farmers' Market starting this morning at 8, but it also marks the start of Eat Local Week. Go grab your bags full of fresh produce, check out the Eat Local activities at the Market, then maybe swing by the new Cured store at 1825 Pearl Street for some excellent cheeses and meats. (I guess it doesn't count towards eating locally if you buy a cheese from France, even though you are giving your money to a one-of-a-kind local store. So look for local cheese, including Haystack, and maybe others.)

If you want to plan ahead for your fruit and veggie shopping, check out this post from Wednesday that lists all the wonderful produce you can expect to find today at the Market.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Chile Festival Tomorrow

The Pearl Street Whole Foods store will celebrate my favorite Hatch green chiles with a festival tomorrow, the 27th. Sounds fun, but the thing I'm really waiting for is Full Circle Farm bringing their roaster to the Boulder Farmers' Market. When I talked with them a bit ago, they expected to start roasting the first Saturday in September, but maybe we'll get lucky with them tomorrow. Not only are their chiles organic (although chiles are natural bug repellents anyway), but Full Circle also identifies them by type of chile, like Big Jim or Sandia, in addition to their heat. With the grocery stores, you're lucky if you even get a designation of mild, medium, or hot. Anyway, here's what the Pearl Street store says about tomorrow's festival (now if they could just spell chile correctly):

Saturday, August 27th

Hatch Chile Festival
12 noon - 6 pm

Regional favorite Hatch Green Chili season is here!

Today's festivities include:

-Live Music

-Corn Hole for prizes!

-Hatch Green Chili Inspired demos!

-Hatch Green Chili Meal Deal!

Weekend Dinner Ideas

With our late summer cornucopia of veggies, it's hard to know where to begin planning for this week's meals, with one exception: since I picked up the excellent Alaskan true cod during Whole Food's one-day sale, tonight it will go into corn and cod chowder from Food and Wine magazine. The dish will of course have Munson's corn in it, probably freshly picked from the farm stand at 75th and Valmont, but also pretty easily available at Whole Foods, and of course at tomorrow's Boulder Farmers' Market. I'll definitely lighten up the recipe, skipping heavy cream and substituting either more milk or possibly a little half and half. A salad will go on the side, plus fresh bread (I so miss the special 99 cent sale Whole Foods had on their wonderful baguettes through this past Wednesday!).

For tomorrow, we'll want to head back out to the grill. Salmon remains an option, and Sprouts has fresh wild coho for $7.99 a pound this week. (They also have cod at that price, if you missed the Whole Foods sale for the chowder.) If it's still in stock, Alfalfa's has Kenai Peninsula sockeye at $10.99 a pound, too. A great choice at this time of year is grilled salmon with roasted corn relish from Cooking Light. The corn of course should be Munson's, and you can find the chiles already roasted for you at Whole Foods or Sunflower, making the relish super easy. Some diced yams will go on the grill in foil packages for a side (Sunflower has organics for $1.88 a pound), and since we haven't enjoyed enough of this summer's green beans, I'm also thinking about green bean and radish salad from Bon Appetit.

We'll hope to be back out on the grill for Sunday, this time going for a rare red meat indulgence, in a household that trends more towards fish, chicken, and vegetarian. Sunflower is doing a big 40% off steaks sale, while Sprouts has boneless ribeyes for $9.99 a pound, and at the upper end, Alfalfa's has dry-aged t-bones on sale for $16.99 a pound. Since I also have some beautiful tomatoes left from the wonderful Whole Foods sale, and my herb pots really need some harvesting, I'll do a spin on charred heirloom tomatoes with fresh herbs from Bon Appetit. I'll cheat by using the fantastic organic cluster tomatoes from the sale that ended Wednesday at the Pearl Street Whole Foods store, but Alfalfa's still has organic clusters for $2.49 a pound, and if you want to be true to the recipe, heirlooms abound in our stores and the Farmers' Market.

And that will get us through yet another hot weekend. No complaining, since Labor Day is just around the corner, far too soon.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Supper Club At Superior

The Superior Whole Foods store will go farm-to-table in a big way with its next supper club, actually bringing in the farmer. It happens next Wednesday, the 31st, one day before the Pearl Street store will do the first of its bigger (and much pricier) farm-to-table dinners. Here's what Superior says:

Wednesday, August 31st

All Local Food Supper Club
6:30pm-8:30pm $10.00 per person

Join Whole Foods Market and Isabelle Farms for this month’s Supper club. No better way to celebrate local then with the farmer. Chef Bridgette will cook up a delicious 3 course meal while we enjoy meeting the grower of our food for the evening. Sign up early – space is limited to 20. Please sign up and pay at our Customer Service Counter to reserve your space today!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Boulder Farmers' Market This Afternoon

Don't forget about the Boulder Farmers' Market, starting at 4 this afternoon. The list of late summer produce you'll expect to see, from their hot-off-the-press newsletter is vast. Check it out:

Arugula, Braising Mix, Chard, Collards, Kale, Lettuce Mix, Mixed Greens, Mizuna, Romaine, Salad Mix, Spicy Greens, Spinach, Tatsoi

Apple Mint, Basil (Cinnamon, Holy Basil, Lemon, Purple, Siam Queen, Spicy Greek, Thai), Borage, Calendula, Catnip, Chervil, Chives, Chocolate Mint, Cilantro, Dill, Garlic Chives, Parsley (Curly, Italian), Lemon Balm, Marjoram, Mint, Nasturtium, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Savory, Shiso, Tarragon, Thyme, Violas

Beets, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, Corn, Cucumbers, Edamame, Eggplant, Fennel, Fingerling Potatoes, Garlic, Leeks, Mini English Cukes, Mushrooms, Pepper (Anaheim, Banana, Cubanelle, Green, Hungarian Wax, Jalapeno, Jimmy Nardellos, Pepperoncini, Poblano, New Mexico Improved Hot), Potatoes, Okra, Onions, Radish, Radicchio, Scallions, Shallots, Summer Squash & Blossoms, Tomatillos, Wax Beans (Dragon, Green, Purple, Yellow)

Cherry, Heirloom, Slicing

Melon (Cantelope, French, Honeydew, Japanese Pear, Musk, Tropical), Peaches (Red Haven, Rising Star), Plums (Santa Rosa, Shiro Yellow), Pristine Apples, Watermelon

Weekend Dinner Preview

Here's a great confluence of sales and seasonality. I'll definitely get some of the Alaskan true cod that's $6.99 a pound today only at our local Whole Foods stores, adding in some fresh Munson's corn to do corn and cod chowder from Food and Wine magazine. If they're offering some of the cod frozen, I'll have total flexibility on the timing; otherwise I'll need to move it into the menus pretty quickly. Maybe tonight, with the last of the special Pearl Street sale (ends today) on their wonderful baguettes for just 99 cents?

This Week's Hot Deals (IMHO)

We have new sales starting today at our Boulder Sprouts and Sunflower, while current sales continue at Alfalfa's, Whole Foods (both of those through August 30th), and Vitamin Cottage (way through September). Click on those links for my prior reports. Here's what I'm seeing as the best of the new sales.

At Sprouts through August 31st, a "chicken breast extravaganza" has seven types all 50% off, including cutlets, scaloppini, and ground. Their stuffed chicken breasts are $3.99 a pound, and boneless ribeye steaks are $9.99 a pound. Fresh wild coho salmon is $7.99 a pound and Alaskan cod is also $7.99 a pound (but catch that at Whole Foods instead, today only, for $6.99 a pound). They're doing a 72 hour sale this Friday through Sunday, with my favorite stuffed clams or their shrimp skewers at 99 cents each, Hass avocados for 88 cents, and roasted almonds just $2.99 a pound. Back to the week-long sale, in organic produce, bananas are 67 cents a pound, seedless red or green grapes are $1.99 a pound (same for green at Whole Foods), yellow peaches are $1.99 a pound, cantaloupe are 69 cents a pound, romaine heart three-packs are $1.99 each, and three pound bags of yellow onions are $1.99 each. Also, Chobani Greek yogurts look great at $1 each, as does a big 32 ounce tub of Stonyfield organic yogurt for $2.50.

While Sprouts is discounting chicken breasts, Sunflower is going for steaks through the 31st, with eight varieties of steak all 40% off. They're joining the Hatch chile celebration, with the chiles themselves 77 cents a pound, green chile pork sausage $2.99 a pound, and gourmet green chile burgers $3.99 a pound (same for the burgers at Whole Foods). The organic produce deals are abundant, too many to list, so here are my favorites: baby carrots just $1 a one pound bag, green onions 50 cents a bunch, celery 99 cents a bunch, garnet or jewel yams $1.88 a pound, grape or cherry tomatoes $2.50 for 10 ounces, red or yellow onions 99 cents a pound (a little cheaper for the yellow by the bag at Sprouts), and cantaloupe $2 a melon. If you're okay with conventional for hard squash (I am), here's a spooky portent of fall: the new crop from Colorado of acorn, spaghetti, and butternut squash, all at 88 cents a pound. There are also good deals in dairy, with the best price I've ever seen on Noosa yoghurt at $1.50 an eight ounce container (previous winner was Alfalfa's current sale, $1.89), and select Horizon organic milk is $2.79 a half gallon. Finally, their own hummus is $2.50 for eight ounces, and select Newman's Own organic cookies are 33% off.

Wow, that's a lot of good sales, plus I'm particularly enamoured of the current sale at Whole Foods that runs through next Tuesday (Hatch green chile mac & cheese, anyone?).

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Last Call For Special Pearl Street Sale

Just a reminder that you only have through tomorrow to catch the 13 deals going on at the Pearl Street Whole Foods store, seemingly as a way to extend their remodeling celebration. The deals are excellent, generally half or even more off usual prices, and include great items like their own French baguettes for just 99 cents each (usually $2.49) and Ford Farm Seaside cheddar for $6.99 a pound (usually $12.99 a pound). I just bought the long stem globe artichokes at $1.50 each, and they're huge. You can read my original report on the sale here. And don't forget tomorrow's one-day only sale (look immediately below this post) while you're at it.

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

Our local Whole Foods stores will offer us a duo of special sales for tomorrow only, the 24th. Alaskan true cod, with a "best choice" Seafood Watch rating, will be nearly half off at $6.99 a pound. Also, Organic Valley Farms stringles will be half off at $3 for six ounces. Sounds like a lunch box treat (the stringles, not the cod).

Monday, August 22, 2011

Eat Local Week Coming Up

Starting next Saturday, the 27th, we'll have a whole week of events and activities celebrating local food with Eat Local Week. You can see all the details at this Eat Local Week guide. A great impetus for buying way more than just 10% locally, at least for a week.

Wednesday Is Event Day

A couple of things will be happening this Wednesday, the 24th, at our local Boulder stores. Sunflower will hold a "Simple Supper Recipe Sampling" from 4 to 6 pm (get some ideas while sampling goodies). And for kids, the Pearl Street Whole Foods will host "Eat A Rainbow," encouraging them to enjoy more fruits and veggies. I was happy to see a version of this during the re-opening celebration a week ago, with lots of kids chowing down on lovely plates of healthy foods. Here's what they say:

Wednesday, August 24th
Eat a Rainbow!
3 pm - 6 pm FREE

The School Food Project and Whole Foods Market encourages everyone to Eat a Rainbow!
We will have an actual BVSD Salad Bar allowing kids to fill up their plates and Eat a Rainbow of Vegetables and Fruit!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Weekday Dinner Ideas

Time to get going thinking about really easy dinners to make during the week. By tomorrow we'll be in the mood for something vegetarian, and it will also be time for something based on pasta. With glorious tomatoes all around us at the Farmer's Market, the farmstands, my backyard, and with organic ones on sale at both Whole Foods and Sunflower for $1.99 a pound, that points to linguine with spicy leek and tomato sauce from Bon Appetit. There are also so many great pasta dishes incorporating corn that tempt me at this time of year, but we've already enjoyed Munson's corn Friday and yesterday, so we'll give it a rest for a day. In addition to a salad, one of the beautiful French baguettes that the Pearl Street Whole Foods is practically giving away through the 24th at 99 cents each would be great on the side.

I've already mentioned how the current Whole Foods sale is luring me away from my penchant for making everything from scratch by offering some great prepared foods, as we found with Friday's salmon burgers. For Tuesday we'll indulge in them again, this time with the Hatch green chile turkey burgers that are on sale at all our local Whole Foods stores for $3.99 a pound (beef chile burgers for the same price, too). I've had them before, and they're great. I'm not a burger bun fan, but they also have their own Bakehouse hamburger buns on sale, too. For a side, what could be better than corn on the cob from Munson's? To be even more decadent with the prepared foods, how about another Whole Foods side of either Hatch chile mac & cheese ($4.99 a pound at all our local stores through the 30th) or smoked mozzarella pasta salad ($5.99 a pound at the Pearl Street store through the 24th). Is that cheating too much?

It will be time to really cook something by Wednesday, and also time for something rice-based. With boneless skinless chicken breasts $1.99 a pound through that day at Sunflower ($2.99 a pound at Sprouts) and organic broccoli just $1 a pound at Sunflower ($1.29 a pound at Sprouts), that spells Kung Pao chicken from Cooking Light, served over brown rice. Steamed edamame from a package coming from the freezer makes an easy side.

To finish off our weekday dinners with another easy one for Thursday, I'll catch some center-cut pork loin chops from the 40% off pork sale at Sprouts by Wednesday to do an easy saute of pork chops with a bit of garlic, and a pan sauce made at the end by stirring in a touch of wine. Microwaved "baked" potatoes will go on the side, and Sunflower has organic russets at $1 a pound through Wednesday (and the last time I checked, Alfalfa's everyday price was even lower than that). For the veggie, I'm planning on catching the long stem globe artichokes that are just $1.50 each at the Pearl Street Whole Foods by Wednesday, to make a midweek dinner a little more festive. Mix some organic fresh parsley and a few capers into a lowfat mayonnaise for a quick dipping sauce.

And that will get us through to next Friday's planning, which is getting way too close to the end of August.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Whole Foods Chili Cook Off

The competition is already heating up for the Chili Fest in Superior on September 10th. The Superior Whole Foods is prepping with a Team Member Chili Cook Off on Monday to determine which team will represent them at the Fest. Customers get to sample and vote! Here's what they say:

Monday, August 22nd
Team Member Chili Cook Off
5:00pm-7:00pm Free

Join us in our Cafe for music, food and fun. Vote for your favorite Chili; hot, green, mild or red. Each of our Teams will make and submit their favorite Chili recipe. We want you, our Customers to sample and vote on your favorite! The winning Team and Chili will represent Whole Foods Market at the Superior Chili Fest on September 10.

Local Tasting Fair Tomorrow At Alfalfa's

Tomorrow, the 21st, from noon to three, Alfalfa's will host a very fun-sounding local tasting fair, with random goodie giveaways, too. Here's what they say:

Come meet our local farmers and vendors, and try out tons of tasty products they love to make. We'll be giving away some random bags filled with local goodies, and if you purchase our $5 Alf-fresco taco plate, all proceeds will benefit No-GMO Boulder.

Join us in showing our local farmers and friends some love (and eat some great food while you're at it;)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Boulder Farmers' Market Tomorrow

If you want to do a bit of planning for your shopping at the Boulder Farmers' Market tomorrow, check out their current newsletter for the absolutely huge list of produce you can expect to see. There's also other market information, a melon recipe, and a note about Eat Local Week kicking off at the Market a week from now.

Weekend Dinner Ideas

I swear the planning gets harder the more there is to choose from. Between all the wonderful, local produce we have now and the particularly great sales happening at the Pearl Street Whole Foods store, plus good deals from our other friends too, this is tough. So when the planning gets hard, I'll make the cooking easy, taking advantage of some of the great sale prices on prepared foods at Whole Foods, a departure from my usual doing everything from scratch.

We'll start that easy cooking with tonight, which will be salmon burgers, which are only $2.49 each at the Pearl Street Whole Foods through the 24th. With roasted chiles starting to make their appearance (and a few still to finish from last season in my freezer), the side will be a new one I've been wanting to try from the New York Times, creamy stovetop corn with poblano chiles. Needless to say, the corn will be Munson's. (When I was last at the Pearl Street store, they were selling Munson's corn for 50 cents an ear, matching the price at Munson's own farm stand and saving me a trip.)

I'll get more ambitious for tomorrow, heading out to the grill with a new recipe from Saveur magazine, pesto-rubbed chicken with panzanella. We have chicken sales everywhere, including whole organic Rosie ones at Sunflower, Bell & Evans split chicken breasts at Whole Foods, and even boneless skinless ones for a song at Sunflower. As for the panzanella ingredients, how seasonal could we get, and the pesto gives me a chance to whack down my thriving basil plants. I wonder if the panzanella could be made with long diagonal slices from the wonderful French baguettes on sale at the Pearl Street Whole Foods for just 99 cents each.

We'll be back out on the grill for Sunday, since we absolutely have to take advantage of the marvelous fresh wild coho salmon on sale at the Pearl Street Whole Foods for $9.99 a pound. I'll invent my own quick fruit salsa for it, mixing together some organic fruit, diced avocado, a bit of red onion, lemon or lime juice, cilantro or parsley, and a touch of olive oil. Also wanting to take advantage of the organic Black Mission figs that are just $2.99 a pound at all our local Whole Foods stores, we'll wrap some in pancetta and put skewers of them on the grill, too. For a seasonal side, we'll turn to a favorite, exceedingly simple one, tomato and corn salad with marjoram from Bon Appetit. Once again, the corn will be Munson's, and there are lots of choices for organic tomatoes, ranging from tomorrow's Farmer's Market, to sales at the Pearl Street Whole Foods ($1.99 a pound), Sunflower ($1.99 a pound), and Alfalfa's ($2.49 a pound).

And that will get us through another fine summer weekend.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Chile Roasting At Sunflower

How quickly our culinary seasons change. Tomorrow, the 19th, our Boulder Sunflower is planning a "Farmers Market and Chile Roasting" from 11 to 2. There's nothing like freshly roasted chiles to perk up a dish, but they so totally spell fall to me, and I'm so totally not ready for that.

Special Sale At Pearl Street Whole Foods

Seeing such great sale prices around the Pearl Street store (their wonderful baguettes for only 99 cents!), I suspected something was up, which was confirmed when I found the special sale flyer. Celebrating their 13 years in Boulder (not to mention their spectacular remodeling), the Pearl Street store is offering us 13 especially enticing deals through the 24th. Pick up the flyer at the front of the store to see them all, but here are the real standouts to me:

Wild fresh coho salmon $9.99 a pound
Market Made salmon burgers $2.49 each
Beef sirloin tip steak $3.99 a pound
WFM French baguette 99 cents
Market Made smoked mozzarella pasta salad $5.99 a pound
Ford Farm Seaside cheddar $6.99 a pound
Local organic cluster tomatoes $1.99 a pound
Long stem globe artichokes $1.50 each
Santa Cruz organic lemonade $1 a bottle

Wow. Those prices above are all close to or even more than half off their usual price. Combined with all those great prices on foods prepared with Hatch chiles in the new regular sale that started yesterday, this is definitely the week I'm headed to the Whole Foods Pearl Street store.

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

For tomorrow, the 19th only, our local Whole Foods stores will offer us organic cantaloupe at just $1.50 each. Considering how heavy most cantaloupe are, that's a lot of organic fruit.

Cured To Open Saturday

We've been eagerly anticipating the opening of Cured in Boulder, and it looks like we'll finally get it this Saturday, the 20th, at 9 am. Cured, at 1825 B Pearl Street, will specialize in artisanal, seasonal, fine cheeses, with meats and wines to go with them. Check out Cured's website to read the story of the store, its philosophy, and what you can expect to find there, since I can't possibly do justice to the owners' mission in a short space here. Oh Boulder, it just keeps getting better.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Boulder Farmer's Market This Afternoon

It's time for the opening of today's Boulder Farmer's Market, and here's their current newsletter, very hot off the press (or specifically, from my twitter feed). Look at that list of herbs, greens, veggies, and fruits that will be available! And I have to check out the upcoming Eat Local week they mention, sounds like a worthy endeavor.

Lafayette Peach Festival This Weekend

Lafayette's grand peach celebration will be this Saturday, the 20th. You can read all the details about it here. I went last year and it was lots of fun, but it's probably best to go early, as it gets zooey with people.

This Week's Hot New Deals (IMHO)

We have new sales starting today for our Boulder Sprouts, Sunflower, and Whole Foods, while current sales continue at Alfalfa's and Vitamin Cottage (click those links for prior reports). Here's what's most appealing to me of the new sales, IMHO, as always.

Sprouts through the 24th continues to offer us wild fresh Alaskan salmon, this time coho at $8.99 a pound. I'll also investigate the swordfish they have for $9.99 a pound (I'd think that couldn't possibly be fresh, but Sprouts did surprise me once on that front.) Smallish 41/50 count ez peel raw shrimp look good at $3.99 a pound, all varieties of pork are 40% off, all fresh sausage is $2.99 a pound, and beef stew meat is $3.99 a pound ($4.99 at Sunflower). In organic produce, red or green leaf lettuce looks great at 99 cents a head, yellow peaches are $1.99 a pound, red plums are just 99 cents a pound, baby carrots are $1.50 for a one pound bag, Italian squash (think zucchini) is $1.49 a pound, and broccoli is $1.29 a pound (but Sunflower beats that with $1 a pound). Shredded cheese is 30% off, and they have a great price on the big 100 ounce jug of Seventh Generation laundry detergent at $10.99 each (dish liquid also looking good at $2.49 each).

At Sunflower through the 24th, family packs of boneless skinless chicken breasts look good at $1.99 a pound, large 16/25 count broken shrimp are $5.99 a pound (I wonder how broken is broken), and fresh Rosie organic chicken fryers are $2.99 a pound. Organic produce looks particularly good, with broccoli $1 a pound, hothouse tomatoes $1.99 a pound, carrots $1.50 a bunch, strawberries $2.99 for a whole pound, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries all $2.99 for six ounces, and either russet potatoes or red onions at $1 a pound. Select MaraNatha no stir peanut butters are $2.99 a jar (but Vitamin Cottage has the non-organic for $2.89 and the organic for $3.19). Grated parmesan or romano are good at $4.99 a pound, their own sharp cheddar is $3.99 a pound, and I still need to try their new aged Parmesan from Wisconsin at $7.99 a pound.

Longtime readers (thank you!) know I'm nuts over chiles from New Mexico, most commonly called Hatch, so the new sale starting at Whole Foods today, running through the 30th, is driving me absolutely crazy with its Hatch chile options. First of all, the raw chiles themselves (unroasted) are $1 a pound. Moving into their own wonderful Market Made preparations, you'll find Hatch green chile wild salmon burgers for $7.99 a pound, beef or turkey Hatch green chile burgers for $3.99 a pound, and the ultimate temptation, Hatch chile mac & cheese for $4.99 a pound (be still, my heart). There's also a heart-pounder for me in organic produce: Black Mission figs for $2.99 a pound (try them on the grill, wrapped with pancetta and skewered). Other organic produce looks good too, with green seedless grapes $1.99 a pound, red or black plums also $1.99 a pound (but the organic reds are 99 cents a pound at Sprouts through the 24th), and raspberries $3 for six ounces (basically matching the Sunflower sale on that one). Stonyfield organic yogurts look great at 50 cents each, and select Back to Nature cookies are good at $2.50 a box. Their own large cinque formaggio pizza is very good at $7.99 each (try dressing it up with Yves veggie pepperoni) and two of their fine cheeses (Robusto and Australian cheddar) are very significantly discounted. This sale looks like Whole Foods is extending the celebratory mood for their Pearl Street re-opening all the way through the end of the month!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Big Benefit Concert Friday At WFM Pearl

If you haven't already heard, the Pearl Street Whole Foods will sponsor a concert this Friday featuring headliners from Big Head Todd and more, all to benefit the very worthy food project aiming to get healthier foods into Boulder Valley schools. A good cause, great music, and you can't beat the $15 price. Here's what they say:

Friday, August 19th

School Food Project Benefit Concert

Doors Open at 5pm $15 per person

Whole Foods Market Boulder Presents Todd Park Mohr and Jeremy Lawton of Big Head Todd and the Monsters With Special guests, Mollie O'Brien - Rich Moore Trio with Eric Thorin and Danielle Ate the Sandwich.

100% of the proceeds support the BVSD School Food Project. Join us for this very special one-time event celebrating the Boulder community and the grand reopening of the pearl street store.
Tickets go on sale Monday, August 1st at these Whole Foods Market Locations:

Whole Foods Market Pearl Street
Whole Foods Market Tamarac
Whole Foods Market Belmar

$15 donation, intimate venue get tickets while they last.

Bike or Bus? Choose to Bike? Be sure to take advantage of our free “Bike Valet” service. Choose to Bus? Swing by the “Bike Valet” tent to be rewarded for your use of alternate transportation.

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

Our local Whole Foods stores are offering an excellent quartet of sales for tomorrow only, the 17th. The stunner is three types of Applegate sliced turkey for only $2.99 a package, usually $5.99. (If you can't make it to catch this price tomorrow, Vitamin Cottage has it for $3.99 all the way through September 24th, and that's still a really good price. Actually, the Whole Foods email says "all natural" and the Vitamin Cottage ad says organic, but I thought they only did one version). With its vacuum packaging, these usually keep quite nicely in the fridge (look for a "use by" date if stocking up). To turn it into a back-to-school sandwich, Sammy's sandwich bread will be $2 a loaf (99 cents off), and Finlandia cheese slice packages will be half price at $3 each. Turning to dinner, wild sockeye salmon fillets will be $8.99 a pound, $6 off. It's previously frozen, but also MSC-certified sustainable and traceable to the source. Fish with a pedigree.

Doin' The Olive Oil Math

With so many oils to choose from, between the regular shelves and the fabulous dispensaries at Alfalfa's and the Pearl Street Whole Foods, how do you choose? Obviously, it all depends on your cooking/eating propensities and what appeals to you. But in terms of figuring out what these bulk oils actually cost, Alfalfa's has an extremely helpful chart that shows approximately what several sizes of bottles will weigh when filled with oil (presumably once the tare weight of the bottle has been deducted), so you can make reasonable cost comparisons. According to the chart, a filled 500 milliliter bottle will clock in at 1.02 pounds, and a 750 milliliter one comes in right at 1.5 pounds. Doubling that 500 milliliter size, you can figure a one liter bottle weighs basically two pounds.

Everybody has their own preferences, but for me, my course of action is clear. I go through olive oil by the liter for everyday cooking (freshness being an important factor - never buy a size that will sit around for too long), so for that purpose, my choice will remain Whole Foods' own cold pressed extra virgin 365 brand off the regular shelves (I like the Italian best). It comes in one liter bottles for $8.99 each, but it looks like it's transitioning to one liter canisters at $7.99 (with a Turkish option at just $6.99). If you do the math above, filling a one liter bottle from bulk at, say, $9 a pound would run you $18 for that bottle, so buying 365 off the shelves still works for me for the oil I use in quantity. I'd turn to the bulk dispensers for special oils bought in small quantities, and for those, I think the selection at Alfalfa's has an edge (I'm currently loving their organic Tuscan herb oil), but Whole Foods tempts me too, and I'll have to try that chipotle-infused one, for sure.

Monday, August 15, 2011

New Deals At Vitamin Cottage

Our local Vitamin Cottage (aka Natural Grocers) has a new set of specials that runs all the way through September 24th (yikes - break out the parkas!). Particularly appealing to me are five types of Rudi's organic sandwich breads for $2.99 a loaf (and those of us who were at the Whole Foods Pearl Street weekend celebration were treated with 75 cents off coupons by the Rudi's folks there, or you can get $1 off at their website - thanks, Ms. M!), Applegate Organics seven ounce sliced turkey packages (roasted, smoked or herb) for an excellent $3.99 each, and organic broccoli for $1.39 a pound. Also looking good are Amy's burritos or wraps at $1.79 for most and $1.99 for the gluten-free, Muir Glen organic pasta sauces for $2.49 a jar (stock up, and sometimes you'll find coupons attached to them, as well), Lundberg's rice chips for $1.89 a bag (addictive), Greek Gods yogurts at 95 cents a six ounce cup, and Newman-O's sandwich cremes at $2.99 for the 13 ounce size bag. Eldorado Springs artesian water is dirt cheap at 59 cents for a liter and 69 cents for 1.5 liter, and my very favorite MaraNatha no stir nut butters look excellent, with peanut at $2.89 a 16 ounce jar ($3.19 for the organic, worth it) and $3.99 for the 12 ounce almond butter. Pair it with some Cascadian Farm organic fruit spreads for just $2.15 a 10 ounce jar, $1 off (put it on that Rudi's organic bread). And of course, being Vitamin Cottage, they have a slew of good prices on supplements, as well.

Tasting And Class At Superior WFM Tomorrow

The Superior Whole Foods store will be busy tomorrow, with a back to school tasting around lunchtime, and a great-sounding grilling class later in the day. Here's what they say (although I hate to see the "wind down your summer" reference):

Tuesday, August 16th
Back to School Tasting
11:00am-2:00pm Free
It is the first day of school- start the school year off right with samples of tasty lunch box favorites with Value galore.

Tuesday, August 16th
Health Starts Here Grilling Class
6:00pm-8:00pm Free
Come join our Healthy Eating Specialist, Cheryl. Wind down the summer by grilling your everyday favorites. Menu includes grilled salad, grilled portabella hamburger and fruit for dessert. Please sign up at the Customer Service Counter to reserve your space today. Space is limited to 15.

The Olive Oil Flows In Boulder

With the arrival of bulk oils and vinegars at the Pearl Street Whole Foods store in time for the weekend's grand re-opening celebration (how do they get these things installed so quickly?), Boulderites can now choose between Pearl and the wonderful dispensaries we got when Alfalfa's opened in April. How do they compare? IMHO, they're different, simply giving us more variety and more choice, so it couldn't be better for us, the consumers. The Pearl Street feature stays in a narrow range, with all the olive oils at either $8.99 or $9.99 a pound (there's also canola for cheap, I think $2.99 a pound, and grapeseed too), and only the Ascolano at $9.99 a pound is organic. Several are infused with flavors, like basil, garlic, and the ever-tempting chipotle. The Alfalfa's department (IMHO) tends toward higher end oils, with more organic options, and therefore sporting generally higher prices (although they do have an organic Everyday Blend that's currently on sale for $7.99 a pound, usually $8.99). So what does the Boulder consumer get out of this? A whole lot of choices!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Weekday Dinner Ideas

Sunday comes around all too quickly, so it's time to think about dinners for the rest of the week. Given the abundance of fresh produce we have available at this time of year, it's actually harder because the possibilities are so many! Because of that, I've decided to completely wing a pasta dish for tomorrow. My starting point will be the chicken tenders that Sprouts has for the ridiculously low price of $1.77 a pound. They'll get sauteed in a bit of olive oil, along with some garlic and maybe some onion, then let the improvisation begin. Practically anything picked up at yesterday's Farmer's Market could go in, but I'm also eyeing the $1.57 a pound asparagus from Sunflower and the $1.50 pints of organic grape tomatoes from Sprouts as possibilities, too. A few already pitted Kalamata olives from the Whole Foods olive bar add a salty zing. Save a little of the pasta cooking water to moisten the finished product if needed after you add the drained pasta to the sauce, grate some fresh parmesan on top, and voila, you have your own, restaurant-worthy creation. In addition to a salad, one of the baguettes that Whole Foods has for just 99 cents right now (at least at the Pearl Street store) would be fine on the side.

For Tuesday, we'll do our usual reheat of something big made over the weekend, which this week is the corn and sweet potato chowder with chipotle. In addition to another salad, how French can we be with our daily purchase of another one of those wonderful Whole Foods baguettes for just 99 cents?

By Wednesday, we'll be looking for a rice-based dish, and all signs are pointing to garlic pork with tomato and basil from Cooking Light, served over brown rice. Sunflower makes it easy with pork stew meat at $2.99 a pound and organic on-the-vine tomatoes for $1.88 a pound. While the fresh basil is widely available in stores, mine will be from an increasingly-needed whacking from my own herb garden. I see a pesto in the near future.

Finally, for Thursday, we haven't enjoyed enough of Munson's corn yet this week, and with freshly roasted chiles already making their appearance at Sunflower (plus those chicken tenders on sale at Sprouts for $1.77 a pound at Sprouts through Wednesday), we just have to do chicken burritos with poblano chiles and corn from Bon Appetit. Truth be told, I still have a few roasted chiles from last season in my freezer to finish off, and now seems to be a good time to do it. I'm not sure how Sunflower has those roasted chiles so early, as they generally come a little later (confirmed in conversations yesterday at the Farmer's Market and Whole Foods).

And that will get us through to next Friday's planning.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Whole Foods Celebration Reminder

Just a reminder of all the partying that will be going on at the Pearl Street Whole Foods today and tomorrow, in celebration of the completion of their massive expansion and remodeling that we've been living through for so long. (It might have been tough on us as customers, but I can only admire the poor folks who had to do all that shifting of departments back and forth, and back and forth again.) While you're there, check out the iPads in the new Cooking Department for recipe ideas, and maybe chat with Beth Pilar, their new, highly knowledgeable Cooking Coach.

Boulder Farmers' Market Today

It looks like another fine Saturday for strolling the Boulder Farmers' Market starting at 8, picking up all your fresh veggies for the week from local growers. Consider taking the 10% local food shift while you're there. With so many wonderful local options, meeting that 10% goal should be easy, but the pledge will heighten your awareness. Check out the current Farmers' Market newsletter for a complete list of fresh produce available this week, vendor news, and everything you need to know to become an eggplant expert.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Last Call for Current Vitamin Cottage Specials

Just a heads up that you only have through tomorrow to catch the current, very long-lasting set of specials at Vitamin Cottage, aka Natural Grocers. You can read my prior report on the sale here. The Muir Glen Organic tomatoes are particulary notable at $1.19 a can and are the perfect stock-up item. Why wait until you need them and pay more, probably lots more?

Weekend Dinner Ideas

We have another fine, warm weekend coming up, good for grilling, and with so much fresh, local produce available to us at this time of year, the problem is choosing which ones to go on the table this week!

For tonight, a confluence of factors is leading me to grilled chicken and ratatouille from Bon Appetit. First, we want something grilled. Second, we have good chicken deals around town right now, including antibiotic-free marinated chicken breasts at Lucky's for $5.99 a pound (the pesto or garlic and herb marinades would be great with this), unmarinated at the same price at Alfalfa's, and even the chicken tenders that are just $1.77 a pound at Sprouts (run a skewer through them and they're fine on the grill). Finally, we are so in the season for all the veggies in the ratatouille, I'm not sure where to even start commenting on that. The entire thing could come straight from the Farmer's Market, fresh from a local farm. If you're going to go conventional on the red bell pepper (not a particularly good idea), I will mention a comparison of advertised sale prices for this week: $1.25 each at Whole Foods versus three for $1 at Sprouts (and the ones I saw at Sprouts yesterday were big).

For tomorrow, we'll want to get back out on the grill (the imperial "we," ha, and all I have to do is the prep work), and I'm wanting to try the Kenai Peninsula sockeye salmon that Alfalfa's hopefully still has in stock for $10.99 a pound (Sprouts has Alaskan coho for $8.99 a pound as an alternative). Since I can't stop thinking about the salmon in sorrel sauce recipe (bringing back wonderful memories of France) that I encountered while playing with one of the Whole Foods iPads a couple of days ago, we'll adapt it easily by moving the salmon out on the grill. I hope that this week's Farmer's Market newsletter is right and that sorrel will still be available tomorrow. For that, I'm willing to brave the crowds. As a side veggie, some asparagus will have to go on the grill in a basket, since we have to capitalize on the $1.57 a pound sale at Sunflower.

By Sunday, we'll need a break from the grill (Sunday's also our best chance of the weekend for afternoon storms, if we ever see rain again) and also want something big to serve as our easy midweek reheat. To continue our celebration of Munson's fresh, local corn, we'll turn to another corn chowder, this time the corn and sweet potato chowder with chipotle from Mark Bittman's Food Matters Cookbook. The official version isn't online (I'll be using the cookbook), but a barely changed adaptation is available here. With a side salad of fresh local greens (or the organic spring mix that Lucky's has on sale for the stunningly low price of $2.50 a pound) and some fresh bread, we'll be done.

And that will take us to next Friday's planning, which will be here all too soon.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

News From The Pearl Whole Foods Remodel

The Pearl Street Whole Foods store hosted a marvelous tour and dinner last night for local food bloggers, moi included (thanks, Whole Foods, for a delicious, social, and informative evening!). The big news in the newly remodeled store (big festivities planned for this whole weekend, starting tomorrow) is their new Cooking Department, with Beth Pilar as Cooking Coach. I'm still getting my head around this fascinating concept, but the general idea is to encourage people to get back into the kitchen and cook with real ingredients. The department is centered in the bulk area, with an information kiosk based there. Undoubtedly the coolest new toys are the iPads scattered throughout the department, with which you can find recipes and email them to yourself, ask food questions, and the like. At the center of the online component is a partnership with Food52, a project of NYT's food guru Amanda Hesser (she was there last night!) to build food communities nationally. Fascinating concepts, so we'll see where they go.

A note about the remodeled bulk department. In addition to upgrades like heirloom beans and more gluten-less flours, a station of oil and vinegar dispensers is to be installed. I'd presume that means they intend to give Alfalfa's wonderful oil and vinegar station a run for its money. However it plays out, I treasure my bottle with the Alfalfa's logo, currently holding fantastic, organic Tuscan herb olive oil.

I was glad to have a chance to meet so many other local food bloggers yesterday (who knew there were so many of us?). Thanks again to Whole Foods and the many people they brought together to make a wonderful and informative evening.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

This Week's Hot Deals (IMHO)

We have new sales starting today at our Boulder Sprouts and Sunflower, while current sales continue at Alfalfa's, Whole Foods, and Vitamin Cottage (Vitamin Cottage ending on the 13th, so a heads up there). Click those links for prior reports. Although I rarely cover Lucky's Market since I'm not often that far north in Boulder, I happen to have already been there today, so I've included them this week as well. Here are the deals that look particularly appealing to me.

At Sprouts through August 17th, the standout is chicken tenders for $1.77 a pound. Also looking good are whole or cut up chicken for $1.49 a pound, fresh wild Alaskan coho salmon at $8.99 a pound, Alaskan cod for $7.99 a pound, and boneless rib eye steaks for $9.99 a pound. They're doing a "big cheese sale," with all bulk cut cheese 30% off, and a ground meats sale, with seven types of ground beef, pork, chicken, and turkey all 25% off. In organic produce, grape tomatoes look great at $1.50 a pint, celery is 99 cents a bunch ($1.50 at Sunflower), red or green grapes are $2.50 a pound, red plums are just 99 cents a pound (same at Sunflower), and organic cantaloupe is just 59 cents a pound (88 cents at Sunflower).

At Sunflower through the 17th, I'll toss my organic locavore tendencies out the window for asparagus at $1.57 a pound. Also looking good to me are bone-in New York strip steaks for $8.99 a pound ($10.99 for boneless), and ground turkey or pork stew meat for $2.99 a pound. They have family packs of chicken tenders for $2.99 a pound, but Sprouts wins that one big time at $1.77 a pound. In organic produce, on-the-vine cluster tomatoes look very good to me at $1.88 a pound (gala apples and Bartlett pears also at that price, the pears cheaper at Lucky's, below), red plums are just 99 cents a pound (same at Sprouts), three pound bags of yellow or red onions are $2 each, and baby carrots are good at $1.50 for a one pound bag. Organic cantaloupe (88 cents a pound) and celery ($1.50 a bunch) are also on sale, but Sprouts wins on those, above. Also, a one pound ball of Bella mozzarella looks good at $4.99 each, and my favorite Cascade Fresh yogurts are great at 59 cents each.

Since I got to Lucky's, where a new sale starts today (through the 17th), here's the scoop on what I saw. Organic produce looks good as usual, with Valencia oranges 99 cents a pound, cucumbers or green onions 99 cents each, peaches or Bartlett pears $1.50 a pound, organic broccoli also $1.50 a pound, baby carrots $1.50 a one pound bag (same at Sunflower), and organic bulk spring mix is positively stunning at $2.50 a pound. They also have organic roma tomatoes for $2.50 a pound, but I'd prefer the organic on-the-vines at Sunflower for $1.88 a pound at Sunflower. Three flavors of marinated boneless skinless chicken breasts (promising no antibiotics, in addition to the usual suspects) are $5.99 a pound. Select Kozy Shack natural puddings (a favorite in this house) are $2.50 for a four-pack, one pound bars of Organic Valley medium cheddar are $6.49, and select Back to Nature crackers are $2.50 a box.

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

Our local Whole Foods stores will have a trio of special sales for us tomorrow only, the 10th. Twelve ounce shrimp cocktails will be $5.99 each, $3 off. Annie's four ounce fruit snacks will be better than half off at $2 each. Finally, four inch Fireball Gerbera daisies sound fetching at $4 each, almost $3 off.

Big Doings For Whole Foods Remodel Finish

Well, sure, we've all been shopping at the Pearl Street Whole Foods through its months of crazy construction. Evidently everything is just about finished, as they are hosting a huge number of events for their grand re-opening this coming weekend, starting on Friday. Sounds like lots of fun. Here's what they say:

Friday, August 12th - Sunday, August 14th

Remodel Complete, Let's Celebrate
The long awaited Pearl Street remodel is complete now it is time to celebrate with our Boulder Community.


What: Bread Breaking Ceremony with Mayor Susan Osborne and Vendor Demos
When: Friday, August 12th from 10 am to 6 pm
Where: Throughout Store


What: Pearl Street Neighborhood Party
When: Saturday, August 13th from 9 am to 6 pm

Event Details:

· 9 am – 11 am Pancake Breakfast for Whittier Elementary on East Patio/Balloon Twister for the kids.
· 10 am – 5:30 pm Insider Tours
· 10 am – 6:30 pm Vendor Demos
· 11 am – 2 pm Live Music West Patio, Matt Fuller Jazz Trio
· 3 pm – 6 pm Live Music West Patio - Those Cats
· 11:30 am – 6 pm Opening Weekend Grill Deal on West Patio
· 3 pm – 6 pm Eat a Rainbow Kid’s Activity with the School Lunch Project on East Patio
· 3 pm – 6 pm Paper Doll kid’s activity with Alli from The Makerie on West Patio
· 4 pm Caricature Artist on East Patio
· 3 pm – 6 pm Face Painter on West Patio


What: Boulder Born Road Tour
When: Sunday, August 14th from noon to 6 pm

Where: In store, outdoor café, and west patio
Event Details:

· 10 am – 5:30 pm Insider Tours
· 10 am – 6:30 pm Vendor Demos
· 12 noon – 2 pm The Kitchen Local Lunch with Chef Hugo Benefitting The Kitchen Community Foundation on West Patio
· 12 pm – 3 pm Kid’s Activity on West Patio
· 2:30 pm – 6 pm Boulder Born Grill Deal on East Patio
· 3 pm – 6 pm Live Music West patio - Those Cats
· 3 pm – 6 pm Eat a Rainbow Kid’s Activity with the School Lunch Project

Monday, August 8, 2011

New Deals At Alfalfa's

I finally got my hands on the current set of sales at Alfalfa's that started last week and runs all the way through August 30th. Deals that particularly appeal to me include Kenai Peninsula sockeye salmon at $10.99 a pound (while supplies last), organic cluster tomatoes at $2.49 a pound, organic pluots for $1.99 a pound, and select Rudi's organic breads at $3.49 a loaf. Stonyfield Organic's Oikos Greek yogurts are pretty good at $1.25 each (although I've seen lower), Alfalfa's homemade spring mix penne pasta is $3 off at $4.99 a pound, and Diestal honey roasted turkey appeals at $8.99 a pound. If you've never tried one of Alfalfa's homemade wood-fired pizzas, you've been missing out, and now's the time, with a 12-inch cheese pizza on sale for $7.99, with additional toppings $1.25 each. They have a special salumi-style pepperoni that is to die for.

Centenarian Likes To Eat Local

Is eating locally a key to longevity? It might be for one Boulder resident, with a particular fondness for my favorite Munson corn. Okay, so it's Toby the tortoise, known to have been living with families for 100 years (outliving his guardians). Check out the coverage in the Daily Camera, including a video showing him chowing down on that Munson's corn.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Weekday Dinner Ideas

With Sunday already speeding by, it's time to think about easy dinners for the rest of the week. I have a weakness for Whole Foods' Market Made Hatch chile tequila lime burgers, and with them on sale for $3.99 a pound, they'll make a super simple dinner for tomorrow night. Since Whole Foods' sale is through the 16th, an unusually long one for them, there's even time for another round later if we choose. If you prefer to make your own, the current issue of Saveur magazine has a great article on New Mexican chiles (not yet online), accompanied by a very tempting recipe for green chile cheeseburgers. Since it's a little early for this year's Hatch chile crop, and Whole Foods' sale has already been going on for a while, I have a suspicion they might be doing what I should be too: clearing out the remainder of chiles frozen from last year's crop. There are still a couple of bags of handsome ones in my freezer.

For Tuesday, since pasta has yet to appear in the week's menus, we'll go back to the chicken sausage sales at both Sprouts and Sunflower to do a simple pasta with sausage dish. The pasta sauce can be something as simple as a fine one from a jar (I like Muir Glen and have recently heard great praise for Mom's brand), spiffed up with some sauteed onions and bell pepper. If making from scratch, one I like is the sauce that accompanies mushroom and sausage ragu with polenta from Cooking Light.

For Wednesday, we always have something big made over the weekend that serves as an easy midweek reheat, and this week it's tonight's corn and fingerling potato chowder with applewood-smoked bacon from Cooking Light. Actually, the rest of the family will be doing that reheating and salad-making on Wednesday, since I get to go to a dinner for local food bloggers that evening at the Whole Foods Pearl Street store, yahoo!

To finish off the planning through Thursday, the various ground meat sales happening through Wednesday have me thinking again of the Lao/Thai dish variously known as laab, larb, or laap. I first encountered it in a great article on the cuisine of Laos in Saveur magazine a year or so ago, which included a way-too-ambitious (but undoubtedly highly authentic) recipe for minced pork salad. For midweek cooking, I use this much simplified one, and speed it even further by skipping the toasted rice step, still with delicious results. For the ground meat, I'll catch either Sprouts' sale on ground turkey, chicken breast, or pork or Sunflower's sale on ground chicken by Wednesday.

And that will get us through to next Friday's planning, which will be here all too shortly.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Weekend Sale At Whole Foods

Our local Whole Foods stores have a trio of special sales for us for this weekend, the 6th and 7th. Country Natural beef sirloin tips steaks are $4.99 a pound, $3 off. Mix1 antioxidant protein drinks, a Boulder favorite, are four for $5. Finally, my very fave WFM Bakehouse Seeduction bread is half price at $2 a loaf (a good thing, considering the recent shrinking of the size of the whole grain loaves I like best from there, which was confirmed by the staff).

Boulder Farmers' Market Today

It's another fine day for strolling the Boulder Farmers' Market, starting at 8 this morning. If you like to plan ahead, check out this rapidly lengthening list of summer produce you can expect to find today, from this week's Market newsletter (check out how long the list of tomatoes is getting!):

Arugula, Bok Choy, Braising Mix, Chard, Collards, Lambsquarter, Lettuce Mix, Heads of lettuce, Kale (Curly, Heirloom, Lacinato, Red Curly, Red Russian, Violet Wave), Purslane, Salad Mix, Sorrel

Apple Mint, Basil (Cinnamon, Holy Basil, Lemon, Purple, Siam Queen, Spicy Greek, Thai), Borage, Calendula, Catnip, Chervil, Chives, Chocolate Mint, Cilantro, Dill, Garlic Chives, Parsley (Curly, Italian), Lemon Balm, Marjoram, Mint, Nasturtium, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Savory, Shiso, Tarragon, Thyme, Violas

Anaheim Chilies, Artichokes, Beets (Chioggia, Golden, Red Ace), Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage (Caraflex Mini Cone, Green, Napa, Red, Savoy), Carrots, Celery, Corn (Peaches and Cream), Cucumbers (Japanese, Mini English, Pickling, Slicing, Striped Armenian), Carrots, Eggplant, Fennel, Garlic (Chesnok Red, German Extra Hardy, Inchelium Red, Siberian, Thai Purple, Tzan), Green Beans, Haricot Verts, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Mushrooms, Peppers, Potatoes, Okra, Onions, Radish, Rutabaga, Scallions, Shallots, Summer Squash and Blossoms (Costata, Cue Ball, Flying Saucer, Lebanese White, Yellow Crookneck, Patty Pan, Tromoboncino, Zucchini), Sweet Bell Peppers (Greenhouse) and Hungarian Wax Pepper), Rat Tails (radish-tasting small beans), Tomatillos, Turnip

Cherry, Early Girls, Grape, Orange, yellow and red Beefsteak, Roma, Saladette;
Heirloom: Anasazi, Arbeson, Black Krim, Brandywine, Celebrity, Cherokee Purple, Muscovich, Orange Ox Heart, Pineapple, Pink Lady, Robeson, Rose de Berne, San Marzano, Striped Roma

Cherries, Gooseberries, Peaches, Raspberries, Strawberries

Friday, August 5, 2011

Helpful Hint Re Comments

Google is working on a problem that is preventing some people (myself being one of them) from leaving comments on blogs like mine that use its Blogspot program. You of course have to log in through one of many possibilities (a Google account being the most common) in order to leave a comment (we wouldn't want spammers and other nastiness cluttering the comments), and if you have trouble with the process, I just found a tip that worked for me: uncheck the "keep me signed in" box before proceeding with the log in. Instead of getting stuck in an endless login loop, voila, I could comment!

Weekend Dinner Ideas

Friday's already speeding by, so it's time to get going on weekend dinner ideas, starting with tonight. For that, the chicken sausage sales at both Sprouts and Sunflower this week are turning my thoughts to sausage and polenta. This can be as simple as sausage sauteed in a grill pan (maybe with some onions and bell peppers) and polenta whisked in a three to one ratio with water, broth, and/or milk. The polenta itself is easy to find in the bulk aisle. For tonight, I might fancy it up a bit with a riff on parmesan polenta with spicy sausage sauce, a recent recipe from Cooking Light. I don't think the sausage necessarily has to be sun-dried tomato. If you do want that flavoring, you could always add some separately to the sauce.

We'll be back to the grill tomorrow on another hot weekend, enjoying yet more fresh, wild salmon ($8.99 a pound at Sprouts and just $7.99 a pound if you can get to Lucky's Market). We're also gleefully in the height of fresh corn season, with our local Munson's corn available at their farmstand at 75th and Valmont (50 cents an ear there) and at the Boulder Farmer's Market (three ears for $2 there). If standard conventional is okay with you, Sunflower has it at six ears for $1, and it is from Colorado. Put the corn with the salmon, and that spells grilled salmon with roasted corn relish from Cooking Light. Some organic yams will also go on the grill, either as spears in a basket or diced in foil packages.

Not being able to get enough of that corn (heck, that's just a relish for tomorrow) and still needing something big that will also serve as a midweek reheat, for Sunday we'll turn to corn and fingerling potato chowder with applewood-smoked bacon, also from Cooking Light (I seem to be favoring that magazine this weekend, rather than mixing things up). I've seen very handsome small, of course organic, potatoes at the Cure Organic Farm store, in case I don't make it to tomorrow's Farmer's Market, and both places of course have fabulous lettuce and other greens for the side salad. With a crusty loaf of bread from the Whole Foods bakehouse (ciabatta is $2.50 a loaf right now, but I lean towards the whole grain varieties), that's dinner.

And that will get us through another warm Boulder weekend.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lucky's Adds Its Own Farm

Since I unfortunately rarely get to Lucky's Market in north Boulder (too far out of my usual geographic range), I thank my friend, Ms. A., for clueing me in to a very nice development there: the addition of their own organic farm. According to their current flyer, the produce is "organically grown three miles away." Various veggies from the farm are available at the store for $1.49 (per pound or each, as appropriate). How great is that?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Boulder Farmers' Market Today

There's less than half an hour until the start of this afternoon's Boulder Farmers' Market downtown. You can read about the vendors, check out a list of this week's produce, and even see a little mention of this humble blog in this week's newsletter from the market. Help the 10% food shift by buying local, including at the Farmers' Market. It will be fresher and most likely taste better, even if you're not concerned about food origins.

This Week's Hot New Deals (IMHO)

We have new sales happening starting today at our Boulder Sprouts and Sunflower. Alfalfa's should be starting a new one too, but the flyer they have posted right now in their Facebook photos is still for the one that ended yesterday. Meanwhile, current sales continue at Vitamin Cottage and Whole Foods (click those links for prior reports). Here are the highlights of the new deals, IMHO, as always.

Chicken sausage wars: $2.99 a pound at both Sprouts and Sunflower through August 10th.

At Sprouts through the 10th, fish is looking good, with fresh wild Alaskan sockeye at $8.99 a pound, and wild caught haddock (I'd assume previously frozen) for just $3.99 a pound. Top sirloin is also good at $3.99 a pound, filet mignon steaks are $12.99 a pound, and ground pork is $2.99 a pound. In organic produce, I'm liking yellow peaches at $1.99 a pound, six ounces of blueberries for $2.99 each, romaine hearts at $1.99 for a three-pack, broccoli or Italian squash for $1.49 a pound (but the broccoli's better at Sunflower - just 99 cents a pound for organic!), and one pound bags of baby carrots are $1.50 (same at Sunflower). I'm very enthused about Sprouts' wonderful bulk coffee, which includes organic Fair Trade in both regular and decaf, for just $7.99 a pound this week. Also, Brown Cow Greek yogurt looks good at $1 each (basically same at Sunflower), and Evol's yummy (and local) burritos are $2 each.

At Sunflower through the 10th, I'd consider getting pulled into their big promo, sweet corn at six ears for $1. It is from Colorado, but I'd assume straight conventional, and I'm pretty dedicated to Munson Farms' local, pesticide-free corn that's 50 cents each at the farm stand (three ears for $2 at the Farmer's Market). Sunflower's doing a Chicken Extravaganza, with lots of cuts and ground meat all at 50% off. In organic produce, the stunner is broccoli for 99 cents a pound, with red or yellow onions also looking good at 99 cents a pound, baby carrots $1.50 a one pound bag (same at Sprouts), red, green or black grapes $2.99 a pound, and romaine hearts $2.50 a three-pack (but $1.99 for those at Sprouts). Brown Cow non fat Greek yogurts are 99 cents each (beating Sprouts by a penny), some of my fave Ezekiel sprouted breads are very good at $2.99 a loaf, select Back to Nature cookies and crackers are $2.50 a box, and I'm intrigued by a new, aged version of parmesan cheese from Wisconsin for $7.99 a pound.

I'll report on what's happening with any new sale at Alfalfa's as soon as I get my hands on that info.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

One-Day Sale at Whole Foods Tomorrow

Our local Whole Foods stores will have a great price on Giovanni's 8.5 ounce shampoos and conditioners for tomorrow only, $2.99 for either one, $5 off each. Their triangular packaging is very cool and I love the shampoo, but am I the only one who has trouble getting the thick, lovely conditioner out of that cool triangular bottle?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Pledge To Buy Local

Our wonderful Boulder County Farmers' Markets have a worthy new initiative to encourage folks to buy more of their food from local producers, the 10% local food shift pledge. Since I'm a great fan of our Farmers' Market, our local farm stands, and even the Pearl Street Whole Foods store, which greets you with a display of local produce identified by farm, I was shocked to read that less than 1% of the nearly one billion spent on food each year in Boulder County goes to food that's produced here. Shifting our mindsets to more local spending would be a great help to those producers out there who are working so hard to bring us these great local options. Here's part of the Farmers' Markets' press release:

"By going to, Boulder County residents can put their money where their mouth is, and pledge to spend ten percent of their food budgets with local sources. The money shifted to the local economy will be tracked to demonstrate the economic impact of food localization...

The web-based system will track how many people take the pledge, displaying total dollars that are shifted to locally-grown and locally-produced food. The website will ultimately provide an interactive environment where eaters can learn where to buy local foods and how they can change their food-buying habits.

The system includes a mobile iPhone app, which allows visitors to take photos of what's fresh at the Boulder and Longmont farmers’ markets. They can then automatically upload their food finds along with information about sourcing, thus alerting others in real time to seasonal farm-fresh produce as it arrives at the markets."

Wow, how cool is that?